I. The Sky
For thousands of years, people have looked up at the beauty and mistery of the night-time sky. Before the invention of movies, etc., people entertained themselves by observing the heavens. Astronomy, the study of the heavens, is the oldest science known to humankind. Before we had atlases, etc., the stars were our maps and even our calendars. They guided travellers through mountains and deserts, and told us what time of the year it was.
II. Star Meditation
What do you see on the Moon – the closest to our beautiful planet – the Blue Planet? One of the most quietly electrifying experiences is to go outside – look at the Moon. Then realize that men have been there – walking on the Moon.
There is nothing quite as awesome as lying on your back on a clear evening to gaze at the sea of myriads of stars in the heaven. Imagine billions sparkles of heaven’s candles like fireflies. Seen like spread of powder. Pick a comfortable spot outdoors and keep warm in a sleeping bag or blanket. Look at the sky and feel the smallness of your body resting on our spinning world – the Earth. Feel the power and warmth of each star. Imagine how big they are, how bright indeed. What possible other solar systems might exist around. What energy has created this universe? Is the universe actually infinite or just only very large? What role do you play in all this activity? At this time, at that time, at one time, at the same time. What time is it? Please, – tell me about time. Yap, Time will tell.
But, one night in the early 1600s Galileo got excited of using his telescope to spot and pointed it to the heavens. Suddenly the Moon had mountains, ‘the Medicean Stars’ a fleet of moons encircled Jupiter. Since this moment, people would never again gaze at the night sky in the same way. Like open the windows of the sky, there’s the hidden universe. This is one of most fascinating chapters in the history of astronomy. Saw ‘great, unusual and remarkable spectacles’ such as no man had seen before.
III. Space Travel
What stars are like? In fact, they are really big. They are bodies like our Sun, made up of very hot glowing gas. They give energy as light, heat, and other forms of radiation. The only reason stars appear to be so tiny is because they are so far away.
Now imagine you could ride in a star-ship that could travel at the speed of light, about 300.000 kilometres per second. It would take you just eight minutes and 11 seconds to travel to the Sun. But it would take you more than 4 years to reach the nearest star Proxima Centauri. It is said, the distance of this star is about 4 light years. Or you could make a scale. If the distance between the Sun and Earth is 1 meter, so the farthest planet – Neptune is about 30 metres. And the nearest star is about 280 kilometres.
Or, you could imagine like this. Astronaut Neil Armstrong planted the first footprint on the Moon on 20 July 1969. This Manned Spacecraft to the Moon – known as Apollo 11 went to the orbit around our satellite after three-day journey from Earth. But if you would take the spacecraft to the nearest star with the newest technology, you have to build the room within the spacecraft, furnished with some sofas which are so comfortable. You could enjoy your breakfast, experience a superb lunch, afternoon tea, or a romantic dinner accompanied by live music – just for 100.000 years. WOW !
Now you could imagine about how big the Milky Way? If you take a non-stop journey, in straight line path, with maximum speed with your spacecraft from one edge across to the other edge (the diameter), you need indeed 2.5 billion years..uppsz
From our corner of the universe, we really see the islands of stars. Universe, indeed, made up of galaxies travelling through space – billions of them, spread all over the universe.
Many astronomers believe that the universe was born about 12 billion years ago. Started with a gigantic explosion, and known as the Big Bang. Since then, the universe is expanding and still expanding even this time.
IV. The Living Void ?
The possibility that other life-forms may exist in the universe – and that we may one day contact them – has been staple of science fiction novels for a century or more. But now, however, the subject has moved out of the realms of fiction. By asking question about the formation of planets, astronomers hope to learn more about the nature of life and the chances of its recurrence elsewhere.
We hope to see all of these at all the corners of the universe through all the windows of the sky – after that we could see a wonderful metaphor for bridging unimaginable magical moment in the universe. And … say “Hai” to your friends from everywhere in the Universe. Likes you are opening FB and have a folder as a cosmic filing cabinet, filled with your friends’ names from the place beyond imagination.
Tulisan di atas sekedar kenang2an dari “Amateur Astronomy Workshop and Training for High Schools and Star Party (The 9th Asian-Pacific IAU Regional Meeting 2005 di Bali–Indonesia, 26–29 July 2005)”.
Sekalian sekedar sezarah intro dari 1 sisi lain tentang materi pertemuan rutin HAAJ dengan topik SETI yang narasumbernya Bpk. Djuhana W. (salah seorang pembina HAAJ), pada hari Sabtu, 5 September 2009. Jam 16:30 – 20:00 WIB. Tempat: Planetarium & Observatorium Jakarta, lantai 2. Jln Cikini Raya 73 Jakarta Pusat. Sekaligus acara buka bersama (panitia, siapa yang nyediain ransum nih … uffz).